How do you teach them though? If you do not know how to compost yourself, first you must learn the basics. Once you do that, you can teach your kids and incorporate it into your daily life routine.
What is composting?
Compost is organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow. Food scraps and yard waste together currently make up more than 28 percent of what we throw away, and should be composted instead. Making compost keeps these materials out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
Compost is a soil-like matter that is rich in nutrients. It is a very valuable organic fertilizer used in home gardens. There is little to no investment in composting and it has many benefits.
Benefits of composting
Composting is very beneficial to our earth for a number of reasons. It can save you money. Composting allows you to reuse the organic matter that you may have used as food or in other parts of your home and use it in the garden. Turning household food scraps into nutrient rich soil really helps the environment by reducing the need of chemical fertilizers. Composting also reduces food waste. Food waste in America is a huge problem. Americans waste 40% of their food. This means that 25% of more toxic methane is being produced in our landfills. If composting can help change this, then why not try right?!
On top of all those things, composting is a very useful life skill to learn and teach your kids. Composting with kids teaches them about our earth and the environment, how to garden, and eventually grow their own fruits and vegetables. Not many kids learn life skills and grow up not being able to do certain tasks. So, lets teach these kids how to compost!
Tips for composting with kids
It is pretty easy to get kids to learn how to compost. If you start making it apart of your daily routine then it will be an easy life adjustment.
(1) Make it part of your daily routine.
Kids learn by doing something regularly. When teaching them to compost, take it day by day. First teach them what composting is and how it is done. Then show them the steps needed to start. When composting with kids, it is best to start at an early age. This is usually when they pick up things the easiest, but if you are unable to start early that is okay too! Eventually after a little practice, they will get the hang of putting food scraps such as apple cores, banana peels, orange peels, vegetable scraps and other organic matter into the compost bucket.
(2) Teach them what goes into the compost bucket
In order to have a good home composting system, you need to make sure that it has equal amounts of browns and greens (Nitrogen + Carbon Rich material). It is best to teach them what kinds of browns and what kind of greens, so they know what should and should not be composted. Browns meaning dead leaves, branches, and twigs and greens meaning grass clippings and vegetable and fruit scraps. Some household items include the following but are not limited to :
- Fruits and vegetables
- Fruit and vegetable scraps
- Coffee grounds and filters
- Tea bags
- Nut shells
- Shredded newspaper
- Yard trimmings
- Grass clippings
- Hay and straw
- Wood chips
- Dryer and vacuum cleaner lint
- Fireplace ashes
(3) Teach them what does NOT go into the compost bucket
Once you learn and teach them what to put in a home compost system, you should teach them what not to put in your home compost system. Remember that composting incorrectly can create problems for the soil and plants.
- Dairy products
- Diseased plants including flowers
- Meat or fish bones and scraps
- Pet wastes `
Once the kids start learning, it will be easy for them to distinguish what is to be composted and what is not. You can start with kids as young as 2 or even 3.
(4) Let them explore already made compost material
Composting with kids is fun and exciting. Most kids like to explore and learn new things. You can teach kids about composting by giving them some partially finished compost and letting them explore everything that is in it. This allows them to look for the things that make up the organic material. Once they are finished with that, show them some finished compost and let them explore that and let them see the difference.
A fun activity to do with them to show them how nutrient rich compost soil can be is to start a little garden and plant a few plants. You can plant some plants with the compost soil and the other plants with regular soil and see which one grows better. Watching their plants grow helps remind them that all living things work together to grow and thrive!
(5) Use worms
Have you heard of Vermicompost? Vermicompost is the product of the decomposition process using various species of worms, usually red wigglers, white worms, and other earthworms, to create a mixture of decomposing vegetable or food waste, bedding materials, and worm castings.
Kids are fascinated by many things and worms are one of them! Using a worm compost system is a way to teach your kids many things about worms. This allows them to learn how organic material rots, the different kind of worms, and how fast the worms can eat the scraps. Pre-made vermicompost systems can be expensive, so in an effort to live sustainably and use what you have, you can teach your kids how to make your own worm compost.
What tips do you have for composting? Leave a comment below.